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Like mother like child!

Sharks have always fascinated humans despite the great fear they cause. Those vertebrates have been found to have great female independence, from a biological perspective. In fact, a father is not needed to have an offspring, and the genetic code would in that case be fully matrimonial.

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A female Zebra shark has been confined to the aquarium of the luxurious hotel of Burj Al Arab in Dubai for many years. However, she has been laying her eggs for the fourth year in a row with a wonder-like capacity of fertility -- the eggs have been repeatedly hatching to produce offspring without the need of a male sperm.

This is not the first time such a "virgin birth" has been documented among vertebrates, for a another female blacktip shark in Virginia has been documented to fertilize her own egg without mating with a male shark according to the National Geographic article of Sara Goudarzi on October 10, 2008. However, Zebedee, the Zebra Shark of Burj Al Arab, has a higher advantage in that it was considered a "record-breaking" fertile mother.

National Geographic has lately published Charles Choi's article about the "virgin birth" of Zebedee on the sixth of this month to confirm the shark's ability of parthenogenesis -- females of some species producing offspring without mating with males.
This asexual reproduction has been very common among many invertebrates, but it seems like sharks come at the top of the list of vertebrates capable of such a process.

Perhaps, this is to be considered one of the differences among humans and sharks (both vertebrates), but it definitely lays the basics of the supremacy of the female marine animals in their own society as compared to that of human mothers in the patriarchal society of mainlands.

Par le 09/01/2012

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